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Georgia gives Abkhazia and South Ossetia word?2013-02-01 13:31
Will the new Georgian government liberalize the "Law on Occupied Territories", which implies the prosecution of persons who have visited Sukhum and Tskhinval without Tbilisi's knowledge? Experts believe this decision is quite acceptable. Analysts are also discussing the initiative of parliament deputy from the "Georgian Dream" Gia Volsky, supporting the idea of awarding the delegations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia a status of a "party" at the Geneva talks. According to Volsky, the format worked well until 2006.
The term "occupation" is one of the main contradictions between Russia and Georgia, especially when discussing the issue at international forums. Georgian side repeatedly demands to fix the term in relation to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the final resolutions of such organizations as the UN, NATO and the Council of Europe. Russia opposes this and believes that the current situation has nothing to do with the occupation, and this is a question of the existence of independent states - Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Following the adoption by the Parliament of Georgia the "Law on Occupied Territories" any business activity of foreign companies, visiting of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by foreign delegations, just a tourist trip without the consent of Georgia are considered a violation of Georgian legislation. It is fraught with a prison sentence. Thus, if someone from Russia arrives in Sukhum and then went to Tbilisi, he can get a term in Georgian prison instead of festive table.
After the change of power in Georgia in October of 2012, they started talking about the possibility of easing the law on occupation. Russia demands Georgia to remove the point under which any person, who has visited Abkhazia or South Ossetia, may be arrested in Georgia. Georgian experts believe the liberalization of the law is quite real, but everything will depend on bilateral negotiations.
According to Georgian analysts, this point of law on occupied territories no longer works. First, any citizen of Russia and other countries could well use different passports to visit Abkhazia and a trip to Georgia. Second, visitors to Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not get a stamp in passport while crossing the border, so it's impossible to determine whether he was in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali.
"To mitigate this law, there must be first established any contact with the Russians, as well as with representatives of Sukhum and Tskhinval, as well as hold talks on the issue", political expert Soso Tsiskarishvili told GeorgiaTimes. "I think it is quite reasonable to remove criminal prosecution of persons who have visited these areas from the law. We should not forget that the law applies not only to the citizens of Russia, but also the citizens of CIS countries and other states. But liberalization of legislation will depend on the negotiations and how it will fit Georgia's interests, "- said Tsiskarishvili.
Another initiative of the members of the coalition "Georgian Dream" has also caused controversial reaction. The representative of the parliamentary majority Georgy Volsky believes it's possible to award the delegations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia a status of a "party" at the Geneva talks. Volsky notes that this format worked very well allowing negotiating and signing significant agreements. "The peace process has been very active until 2006, when a "road map", supported by the world community, was established. If not overly tough stance of the previous Georgian authorities, the process continued to be very successful", said Volsky.